Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Become Met Opera Music Director

He'll stay with the Philadelphia Orchestra too, for now. It's the first time the Met Opera will change its music director in four decades.

Photo by Jan Reagan

Photo by Jan Reagan

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s acclaimed music director, will succeed James Levine as its next music director.

The Met’s general manager Peter Gelb and other members of the Met company live streamed the announcement.

It’s the first time in four decades that the Met is changing music directors. Levine, 72, stepped down last month after years of health complications.

Though Nézet-Séguin, 41, told The New York Times he’d take an active role in the Met’s music affairs almost immediately, he will not officially hold the reins at the institution until the 2020-’21 season — he’s booked for several years until then.

Nézet-Séguin, born in Montreal, will continue to serve as the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra — which he’s led since 2012 — through the 2025-’26 season. The renowned conductor and pianist will split his time between two of the world’s most prestigious classical music institutions.

He’ll become music director designate at the Met for the 2018-’19 season, a move that will hopefully ease the transition period for the company, which is facing serious financial challenges, including cuts in its $300 million budget. The institution only filled 72 of its seats on average this season, the Times reports.

Nézet-Ségiun chose to extend his tenure as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra just 18 months ago. By the time he leaves the Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin will be the institution’s third-longest-tenured conductor at 14 years.

Since his house debut at the Met in 2009, Nézet-Ségiun has led several critically praised productions. He’ll tackle Wagner at the Met for the first time next season and, in the future, he’s set to conduct operas by composers including Strauss, Puccini, Verdi and Poulenc, the Times reports.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Yannick on taking the musical reins, and I look forward to seeing the good work continue under his watch,” Levine said in a statement.

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